I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “We have two ears and one mouth, and therefore we should listen more than we speak.”
I’ve heard it so many times that it’s permanently ingrained into my brain. How about you?
As I explore the social web it seems as though companies completely forget this saying and utilize social media like traditional “interruption marketing.”
You know the companies I’m talking about. They’re easy to identify when you are viewing your Facebook or Twitter news feed. You constantly see their updates letting you know about the “great deal” they are offering, or messages encouraging you to “buy now.” They post so frequently that the content you’d like to see gets lost in all the noise.
It’s as though the marketing people within these companies completely forgot about delivering VALUE to their “fans” and “followers.”
If you happen to be one of these “marketers,” and you’ve somehow forgotten what brings the most value to your clients, I’ve got a tip for you.
Become an active “listener” so you can get back to the basics of delivering as much VALUE as possible.
The following are a couple ways you can utilize social media to “read the minds” of your clients and prospective clients as they tell you specifically what their biggest problems are, and what they are most interested in.
The easiest way to monitor the “real time” thoughts of your online community is with Twitter. You can simply go to Search.Twitter.com and enter search phrases that would be relevant to your audience. Once you’ve conducted the search you can simply click the button on the top of the page that says “Save this search.” These searches will be saved and added to your Twitter profile page for easy monitoring.
I’d encourage you to create active searches on keywords relevant to your Brand, your products, and visible people within your organization. This will give you an excellent understanding of what people are saying about your company and give you the opportunity to respond and engage in conversations if necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: Just because you don’t choose to listen, doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about your company. Wouldn’t you like to weigh in if they are?
Once you’ve created the appropriate searches for your company you should also create searches for keywords related to your competition’s Brand, products, and visible people within their organization.
You can learn a lot about what these companies are doing correct in the marketplace, as well as their perceived weaknesses. If you do this consistently you’ll be able to identify opportunities to compete. You can also learn from their mistakes. Why not take advantage of this intelligence instead of making those mistakes yourself?
Beyond those basic searches, you should also create ongoing searches for keywords related to the problems your audience might be experiencing that would cause them to contact you. This can help you get a firm understanding of the attitudes and perceptions that exist about, and within your market.
Once you’ve begun active listening, you’ll begin to feel much more connected with your audience and you’ll be able to gain some excellent insights as to how you can serve them well.
When it does come time to create content, it’s important to take all you learn into consideration. I’d encourage you to evaluate every post and ask yourself, “Does this provide value to my audience?” If the answer is “no” … don’t post.
If more companies follow this one simple rule, it’ll be much easier for all of us to find the content that is valuable to us without losing it in all the “noise.” Even if we just want to know what someone had for lunch!